The running joke in sports used to be that every athlete's surgery was a "successful" procedure, the player's actual condition notwithstanding. So went the statements churning out of the teams' respective public-relations wings.

Now, in this high-tech age, we get a bona fide "status update" — a Facebook photo of Alex Rodriguez lying in his hospital bed yesterday, offering a thumbs-up and a statement: "Surgery went well!"

So pretty much the same thing as before, only more visual.

The tale behind this one is simple enough: When an operation is so serious that it will require an anticipated six months before the patient's return to full action, and when A-Rod now has undergone surgery on both of his hips, we proceed with extreme caution in the universe of expectations.

It's way too soon to start wondering how the third baseman/DH can help the 2013 Yankees, triply so whether the man with 647 career homers can pass Willie Mays (660), let alone Barry Bonds (762).

The Yankees professed optimism on Day One. Their statement asserted that A-Rod's procedure to repair a torn labrum and impingement in his left hip, performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, "went as planned and without complication."